The Bristol Exploration Club, The Belfry, Wells Road, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.
Editor: Dave Turner

The views expressed by contributors to the Belfry Bulletin, including those of club officers are not necessarily the views of the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club, or the editor, unless so stated.  The Editor cannot guarantee the accuracy of information contained in contributed matter as it cannot normally be checked in the time at his disposal

Enclosed with BB is a ballot form for the election of next year’s committee, please either send it back to Bob or bring it with you to the AGM.

If you haven’t yet booked your dinner tickets with Brian Workman then you are leaving it very late! There is a choice of main course. Roast Sirloin of Beef or Prime Roast Turkey.  If you have booked tickets but have not indicated your choice can you ring Brian (Oakhill (0749) 840815) and let him know what you want.

Annual General Meeting – Belfry – 4th October – 10.30am


1.         Election of Chairman

2.         Collection of outstanding ballot papers

3.         Election of three tellers

4.         Apologies for absence

5.         Collection of members resolutions

6.         Minutes of the 1985 Annual General Meeting

7.         Matters arising from the 1985 Minutes

8.         Hon. Secretary's Report

9.         Hon. Treasurer's Report

10.        Hon. Auditor's Report

11.        Caving Secretary’s Report           12.        Hut Warden’s Report

13.        Tacklemaster's Report

14.        BB Editor's Report

15.        Hut Engineer's Report

16.        Librarian's Report

17.        Ian Dear Memorial Fund Report

18.        Results of ballot for Committee

19.        Election of Committee Posts

20.        Constitutional Amendments

21.        Any Other Business

The Annual Dinner will be held at the Caveman Restaurant, Cheddar on Saturday 4th October at 7.30pm for 8.00pm.


Hors d’oeuvre

Minestrone soup and Parmesan cheese
Home made Liver and Bacon Pate with Melba toast.

Main Course

Roast Sirloin Beef with Yorkshire Pudding and Horseradish Source
Prime roast Turkey with bacon, chipolata stuffing and cranberry source.
Roast and parsley boiled potatoes, sprouts and buttered carrots.


Homemade sherry trifle and fresh cream
Black forest gateaux and fresh cream.

Coffee and mints.

Half a bottle of red or white wine per person.

When ordering tickets please state choice of main course.  Tickets are available from Brian Workman, Oakhill, Bath BA3 5AU, price £10 each.  Please pay for your tickets at least a week before the Dinner - it only costs a 12p stamp and saves messing up Brian's dinner.


Constitutional Amendments Proposal.

(In accordance with section 7A of the Constitution)

Committee Proposals  (reference section 5 - Committee)

1.         Para. 5A:  First line "less than 7" be replaced by "less than 8"

2.         That  para. 5b be split into 2 parts.  5b(i) and 5b(ii) and altered as follows: -

5(i) shall read a 5b, but with the word "nine" replaced by “twelve”.

Note: 5b(ii) shall be a clause to allow an election for the committee to take place at the AGM if the system as set out in 5b (i) fails.

5b(ii) to read "In the event that the Secretary receives less than eight nominations by the end of the second week of tember, providing he has given written notice to all members no less than seven days before the AGM, he may ask the Chairman to accept nominations from the floor. Any nominations must be seconded.

The candidates shall include those members nominated from the floor plus any nominations notified a in 5b(i) and voting will be by a method acceptable to the meeting".

3.         Para 5c change “nine” to “twelve”.

4.         Para 5d add “and Membership Secretary” after “Editor”.

Additional Amendment

Proposede:  C.M. Smart

Seconded:  A.Jarrett

That section 3(a)A be amended as follows:  “Married couples” be replaced by “Married and Common Law Couples”.

This is in line with other caving clubs e.g. Bradford Pothole Club and the D.C.R.A. who accept such common law couples as joint members.  I believe that it would have the additional benefit of bringing in extra revenue.

As the committee has the ultimate sanction of accepting or rejecting such membership this amendment is not as radical as it seems at first inspection.



Hon. Secretary’s Report


So now the BEC is 51 years old.  The club wound themselves up to the fiftieth celebrations and would appear to have not come down again.  The membership as a whole, have pulled together in true BEC style and the club has enjoyed an exceptionally active year.  Members have been involved in many notable achievements, the Cheddar Risings, Daren Cilau extensions, a very successful club expedition to Austria and the reopening of Wigmore Swallet as a club digging project, to name but a few.

The Belfry improvements are not only finished. but paid for, thanks to the efforts of the treasurer and many kind donations by members new and old.  Phil Romford, Alan Thomas, Nigel Taylor and Butch are also to be thanked for their fund raising efforts.

If anything marred the year it was the unpleasantness of the SSSI problem, this affected all the clubs on Mendip as you may or may not have read in the BB.  The actions taken by the NCC in respect of this matter seriously damaged our relations with the landowners, and as a result a number of caves have been closed. 

The BEC has been active in the efforts to restore the status quo, because of our commitment to supporting the local landowners a committee decision was taken to close St. Cuthbert’s for a period of 2 weeks earlier in the year as a gesture of solidarity. This decision was not taken lightly and I hope members understand why such action had to be taken.

The Committee has adopted a policy of encouraging active caving throughout the club, and giving special support to our younger members.  It was with this in mind that after a long discussion that we decided to replace the now dated ultra-lightweight tackle with an amount of SRT equipment.  This subject will no doubt be enlarged upon by the Tackle Officer in his report.

Efforts are still being made to purchase the Cuthbert's lease but due to our lack of funds at the beginning of the year we have not pushed this matter.

It pleases me this AGM to see the club has returned to its former glory and an election is necessary to decide on next year's committee.  Last year we had the unfortunate position whereby we had insufficient candidates to form a full committee, this was rectified by using the co-option rule in the constitution.  As directed, the committee has drafted proposals for constitutional changes that will allow a committee to be elected from the floor at the AGM, if such an emergency situation should ever arise again.

I personally would like to thank all the present committee for their Herculean efforts throughout the year~ which has made my job as secretary that much easier.  A special thank you, I think, is in order to Jeremy Henley who, unfortunately for the club, is resigning from the post of treasurer. He has made major contributions to the running of the club during his term of office and will be missed in the future.

In conclusion, I would like to say that I have enjoyed carrying out the secretarial duties for the club, and I hope the forth coming year will prove as fruitful as the last. Bob Cork, Hon Sec, Sept 1986


1985/86 Treasurers Report

1)                  The club has had a successful year financially.  It opened the year with a negative balance of £1633.82 and closed the year with a current balance of £1024.41, a turnaround of £2658.23.  Our overdraft peaked in September at £2402.00

2)                  This has been due to the generosity of a number of members, the hard work of others who have raised funds, the increase in subscriptions and the earlier payment of them, the level of hut fees set towards the end of the new financial year and a tighter control on inessential expenditure.

3)                  I am pleased to report that a significant amount of tackle has been purchased this year, in excess of £400 which is more than all the years together that I have been treasurer and this I believe heralds a return to what the club is about – caving.

4)                  The number of bednights has fallen steeply which is of great concern as they are the largest source of income.  The fall has been offset by the higher charges, but if the trend continues the surplus earned this year will not continue.

5)                  If donations and fund raising for the hut are ignored the surplus of income over expense from normal activities was £902.67.  I recommend therefore that subscriptions and hut fees remain unchanged for the coming year.

Jeremy Henley .


Caving Secretary’s Report

It hardly seems a year since I told Mac there was no way he was ever going to con me into being Caving Sec. I’ve surprised myself and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it though~ and I’ll gladly do it next year if elected.

Since last October the club has had some good meets up in Yorkshire and one or two washouts in South Wales (still there was always the Pub eh!!). But the main news of the year has been the club’s remarkable success in finding a new cave!

Snablet and Tom Chapman found several hundred feet in Swildons 2 before the NCC decided that cave formations damaged their red tape!  A connection between the Boulder Chamber and Ifold Series in Eastwater looked on the cards too, found by J-Rat and Tim Large, until the NCC put a stop to caving, farming and goodwill in Priddy (presumably because it all looks a bit messy to the hordes of tourists they are encouraging to the area).

In Manor Farm.  Quiet John Watson, Wormhole and Chris Castle are working on a very promising rift in the far reaches beyond NHASA Gallery which is currently yielding to Tim Large’s box of tricks!  Blitz Passage at the end of Wigmore has decided its not a terminal choke after all (again thanks to Tim’s bang licence).  Tim, Steve M., Blitz and myself are currently making steady progress in a low, draughting bedding with high hopes of hitting the limestone soon.  Trevor Hughes has been helped in Halloween Rift by Pete Eckford and Trebor is optimistic about reaching Wookey Hole before his beard reaches his baldric.

Andy Sparrow has been busy in Boughs Cave digging in various sites and in the same cave Richard Stevenson and Rob Harper have what must be one of the most significant cave diving discoveries of recent years.

In Daren Cilau, the Rock Steady Crew have found over one and a half kilometres of passage and a connection with Agen Allwedd looks close.  We stand a good chance of getting the longest British cave system in the next year.

In Co. Clare, the BEC were making their presence felt at Easter with Pete Glanville and Martin Grass diving the Green Holes and the LADS finding numerous new sites and pushing Poulnagrinn.

Even New Zealand didn't manage to escape from the BEC influence with the Wilton-Jones's year long caving extravaganza taking in some of the islands finest caves.

Bob and Dany represented the club on the Mexico 86 Expedition with over 20 km of new passage explored including one at -600m.

And finally Austria. J Rat and Trebor dug into Wiesberghohle.  C38 (Titanschacht) was bottomed; numerous other caves found and Jagerhohle pushed down 25 pitches to a point over 600m deep with a possible connection to Hirlatzhohle and a record for the deepest through trip is on the cards.

Mark Lumley, Sept 1986


Belfry Bulletin Editor’s Report - September 1986

This has been a good first year for me as editor.  Unlike previous years I have had a good supply of articles from a number of members and I thank them all for making the effort.  As in most years most of the articles I have received have come from the same small group of members, I shall not name them in case I omit anyone, but my particular thanks to them.

In many ways the quality of the BB is out of the editor's hands as it is mainly a mirror on the club's activities.  The editor's task is made much easier when the club is active and I feel that this has been the case this year.  I have tried to keep members informed as to all the clubs activities within a reasonable time of their happening and as such I am pleased to have an article in this BB (September) on the club's expedition to Austria.

It was a pity that the largest BB for many years was only due to the scheduling of SSSI’s and I make no apologies for boring some members with all the relevant bumph.  It is, unfortunately, one of the most important happening affecting Mendip caving and it is my duty to keep members as fully informed as possible.

My main regret with the BB this year has been the length of time between my finishing typing an issue and the time it takes to print it and distribute it.  I hope that this can be changed next year and we are already investigating ways of doing so.

Dave Turner.


Dachstein ‘86

Extracts From The Log & General; Report

By 2.8.86, three carloads of Belfryites had arrived in Hallstatt, and were in various stages of inebriation ranging from plain comatose to Commode Hugging Drunk. Blitz, Gonzo, Steve Milner, Trebor, Duncan Frew (The Token Wessex member) Richard Payne walked up the mountain in the afternoon while J-Rat, Bullroarer Gould, Andy Lovell & Snablet sorted out the Seilbahn and stayed in Hallstatt, for a valuable public relations exercise in the Divers Bar and the local caving hut.  Andy Lovell was so impressed with the local Stiegel beer that he deposited his entire evenings intake on the pavement outside the Bar, for further examination and then proceeded to lose his wallet containing all his holiday money.  This first evening set the standard for many happy nights to follow.

Log: 3/8 While Steve, Trebor & Richard worked the winch, Blitz, Duncan & Gonzo went for a walk to look for cave. Found several small draughting holes, one 15m shaft with a cairn beside it, one large entrance with a boulder ruckle and then rediscovered site C.38 which we gardened and estimated to be about 50m - to be descended tomorrow - back to Wiesberghaus, to get drunk on beer & Roberts whiskey.  Mark.

Log: 3/8 Trebor, Steve & Richard went off for acclimatisation walk when the others got back, cave spotting also.  Found numerous plugged snow holes of course, plus a chamber with an ice covered floor and ice stals.  Then found C.57 which seems to have opened up since it was last looked at.  Worth a better look at in the Morgan. Trebor.

We were joined in the evening by Bob Riley of the Burnley C.C. Tomma, Malvern Dave and Pete of the N.C.C. An enjoyable evening was had by all around a bonfire outside the Wiesberghaus with our hosts, Robert & Laura.

Log: 4/8/  Tomma, Pete, J.Rat, Dave (SWCC), Snablet, Bob Riley. Went for a look at C.33.  Cave drops quickly down several short climbs to head of 10m pitch to large chamber and cairn (this was explored to here by S. Mittendorfer in 1961).  Passage beyond here is continuously small and awkward with several climbs.  It was pushed for about 80m to an awkward double bend-still going.  Knocked it on the head here.  If this hole goes it would be a twat to ferry tackle and a cave NOT to be in when it rains.  Tomma.

Log: 4/8 Dave, Pete, Tomma, J.Rat & Snablet.   Had a root round in a dig - Asshohle, after removing some boulders in a loose choke. After a six foot drop, a five foot crawl leading to a cross rift blocked at one end.  Other end unknown.  There is a slight draught, it needs another look with more protection than shorts. Bearing from C.33 is        Dave.

Log: 4/8 Gonzo, Steve, Blitz, Duncan. Back to C.38 with lots of rope, crowbar etc.  Shifted constricting boulder - 8 seconds (with ricochets) to bottom!!  Dropped onto ledge to stick in bolt, awkward - wasted an hour.  Abseiled 5m to next ledge where I rigged a free hang for a 20-25m pitch in large rift. Landed on ledge with much loose debris and snow.  Slope down to head of 25-30m (estimated) pitch.  Because of the falling boulders, I traversed out on left wall for a free hang, stuck in bolt and exited.  Water can be heard at the bottom, pitch is about 50' x 60'.  Mark.

Log 4/8 C.38 contd. Points not mentioned by Mark. Three bloody great Faults intersect where the cave descends, if this is not a sound prospect I'm a Bratwurst!! Steve.

Log: 4/8.  On the way back from C.38 we walked towards Grun Kogel, but continued around at about C.38 height.  Noted several swallets, couple of shafts, one section of amazing canyon passage into a snow plug and two horizontal entrances (1m x 1.5m) one into snow plug with chamber/passage (4m x 5m) leading to very easy dig into cross rift. Could see 4m right and 2m left. Blitz.

Log: 4/8 Trebor & Richard.  Went to look at C.57.  Loads of shafts & collapses along fault parallel to resurgence - all choked.

Log: 4/8 Andy, Tim, Snablet. Noted several holes in massive depression about ½ hour from Wiesberghaus.  One was blowing well, had a short dig in large boulders.  Found 10-15 shafts nearby several of which are over 20m deep but very tight.  Andy.

Log: 4/8 Pleasant dreams about Samantha Fox, ruined by three Yorkshire twats who couldn't hold their beer (Morning Tomma!) have to educate them about how to drink ad infinitum! Mark.

Snablet demonstrated the tradition of Morris honking, retching all night to the accompaniment of bells.

Log: 5/8 Wiesberghoh1e. Tomma, Pete, J.Rat, Trebor.  To a cave 4 mins from the Wiesberghaus shown to us by Robert.  A low, muddy, descending crawl led to a choke some 10m in. This was dug and passed by J.Rat, Dave and Trebor - the others going to descend a nearby 10m shaft.  Beyond the choke the passage was walking sized dry phreatic stuff leading to a 14m pitch after about 16m.  From the pitch bottom some 180m of superb, roomy cave ending on the brink of a 15-20m (approx) pitch with large passage visible below and the sound of a stream.  A selection, of F------ great Henries were hurled down the shaft before we retreated, checking the floor for possible ways down en route.  Nothing found but an inlet passage ⅓ way along leading to calcite choke with an echoing sound beyond.  Removed the entrance choke completely using crowbar, scaffold pole and 15 gallons of adrenalin!  J.Rat.

August 5th, saw a return to C.38, now dubbed Titanschacht, due to the enormous (Wimpey home) boulders on the scree above the entrance.  Steve descended the now wet shaft to continue bolting and was nearly zapped by boulders falling from the loose entrance.  He re-emerged as white as the Homepride man.  Duncan then went down only to return equally promptly when the wall he was bolting into proved that Newton was right and collapsed.

Meanwhile, Blitz and Gonzo, went prospecting.  There was an entrance higher up the fault from Titanschacht.  Heading north along the cliffs, we found many holes including one very large pot on a major fault partially snow plugged which was later descended by Howard Limbert and the Yorkshire crew with a 40m entrance shaft to choke.

Log: 5/8 Wiesberghohle. After removing the choke near the entrance with the famous words from J. Rat

"I can't understand what's holding this lot up!"  While standing underneath a fridge sized Henry!  Pete and Dave, then went down the next (23m) pitch leading into tight, immature passage.  7m up the shaft a rift passage leads to fallen blocks and a possible way on, but after ½ hours battering it still would not yield.  About ½ way down the pitch a pendulum led to a shattered passage leading after 20m to a 17m pitch.  Another pitch found after 7m - about 16m (un-descended).  Several passages leading off to old, abandoned passage and tight vertical rifts below the main passage ending in a climb needing rope into passage below.  The Food Snatchers.

Log: 6/8 Titanschacht - Gonzo and Duncan.  Went down together so as not to lob any Herberts on each other.  Gonzo managed the next rebelay using a piton to stay in situ. Reached the bottom of the main shaft - solidly choked.  Returning up about 16m we pendulumed into an alcove where we were joined by Bob Riley. Four ways on, three of which closed down.  The fourth, a narrow rift taking water was followed by Duncan to a point where it became too narrow.

Log: Two days in advance but Snablet probably still honking!  South Wales Caving Club, had a 'family coach load' of about 30 people in Hallstatt and were represented on the mountain by a team of about five cavers including Chris Fry, Jon Young, Andy Dawson and Ow Jones.  They had been prospecting an area down the Barengasse-Herengasse Fault where they had little success until Chris, found a hole that was later to change the direction of the entire expedition.

Log: 6/8 5104.  Open entrance leads to steeply descending rift dropping 32m (approx) over a length of 130m.  Two short crawls give access to a chamber with a large 40m pitch.  Way on open.  Andy.

The hole was next to a group of Jagerhuttes (Hunters Lodges) so the Mendip contingent promptly renamed S104 Jagerhohle (Hunters Hole) much to the disgust of the Welsh lads!!

Log: 7/8 Kurt, Peter Seetoller (Halistatt Club) Burnley Bob, Trebor, J.Rat, Steve, Blitz. Wiesberghohle.  Tourist trip for the Austrians - Peter was impressed, Kurt just took the piss.  Pushed sandy crawl on ledge at bottom of Berghilchschacht to emerge back in Dave and Pete's passage.  J.Rat swung on the rope at the top of Robertschacht to reach a very exposed ledge half of which promptly dropped off.  He chickened out at this point but a large passage can be seen 3m away over the top of the shaft.  Needs bolting or rigid ladder.

Log: 7/8 C.66 Must castrate Blitz.  Mark. While you're about it don't forget a certain small pitches without prussiking kit. Duncan, bastard who abseils down.

Log: 7/8.  After farting about with C.66 we walked off towards Niederer Ochsenkogel.  I looked for horizontal entrances in the terraces of the eastern face.  There were five or six small passages heading in for about 10 - 15m before becoming too tight.  Then I found an entrance partially obscured by fallen scree.  The passage was 3-4m wide and 10m high. Mark.

The next day this was entered and choked after 20-30m.

Log: 7/8 Walked back to draughting hole and dug until boulders were too big.  Wandered over west and found some holes with snow plugs, one of which nearly collapsed under me.  Abseiled down 7m to snow covered floor in a small chamber with good icicles and way on tight over snow-not followed.

On the way back I found a 30m shaft with snow at the bottom and a possible way on: Andy.  C.66.  After pulling up a few rocks from entrance of a tight shaft: descended 7m to ledge then further 7m to bottom of shaft with narrow rift running off at the bottom. White walled rift ended (too tight) after about 33m.  Pretty Horrible.  Snablet.

Log: 7/8 S104 (Jagerhohle). Continued on from base of 40m pitch up over pile of boulders along short traverse to top of next pitch estimated at 45m. Started rigging difficult pitch head, then driver fell apart and dropped down the hole.  Second shaft is on a large fault, bearing not yet known. Andy.

Log: 7/8 2 Austrians, 1 Yorkie.  Shaft on Grune Kogel.  Ten minutes walk from Titanschacht following cairns.  Entrance in large doline.  Scramble down past snow plug - climbs and pitches to depth approx 40m.  Base of shaft, small alcove with climbs above to passage (not yet climbed).  Large obvious cave leading off in opposite direction, very easy going in large, half round tube for 130m to a draughting dig.  This was pushed through to a small chamber, climb up sandy slope to large squeeze into base of an aven.  Two alternatives into more active part of system with small, un-descended pitch. Bob.

The eight of August, was fairly uneventful as far as caving went.  There was a thunderstorm in the afternoon.  Half the team went down to Hallstatt for a trip in Hirlatzhohle which was unfortunately postponed, the Welsh lads returned to Jagerhohle but left prematurely without rigging the second pitch as the water started to rise. The Wiesberghaus was struck by lightning and so was one of the Welsh crew.  In the end there was nothing for it but to get Steigeled.  We were also joined by 4 M.U.S.S. who had been turfed off the Tennengeberge.  Between us we drank the Weisberghaus dry:

Log: 9.8.86.  5104 Jagerhohle. Duncao, Bob, Gonzo.  Second pitch rigged 40m deep 70% of which the walls are coated thickly with moon milk.  Obvious passage leading off soon becomes tight.  Climb down through boulders to stream, traverse forward to 3rd pitch - 15m (approx) soon followed by 4th pitch (18m) short passage to 5th pitch. Gonzo descended the 5th pitch on the last available rope.  The pitch was 33m.  Unfortunately the rope was only 30m so some acrobatics were needed (using a cowtail) before the descent was completed.  A steep ramp headed off to the top of the 6th pitch.  Meanwhile, Duncan and Chris, started surveying.  Bob.

Log: 10/8 Hirlatzhohle. Kurt, Tim Gould, J. Rat, Andy, Blitz, Richard, 8 SWCC, Tomma, Pete, Dave.  Kurt was 7 mins late but then had to wait 1 hour for BEC/NCC to eat their breakfast.  Superb trip in this huge phreatic system to the end of the old cave, where Dave and Blitz pushed along a grotty, wet passage for 70m to a choke.  A race developed on the way back to the entrance. Everyone very impressed by the huge passage, tons of fine white sand and the incredible howling draught in the small entrance passages.  All this after a superb afternoon/evenings booze up at the Hallstatt Festival where a BEC sticker was employed ABOVE a SWCC flag about 60' up the side of the local church tower - thanks to the local cavers who were demonstrating S.R.T. rescue with the most attractive, sensual, tasty etc. etc. rescue victim on record. Regarding this, there is one place where the BEC actually failed to get!  J. Rat.

Log: 10/8. 5104 Jagerhohle. Burnley Bob, Nigel and Jan M.U.S.S. Re-rigged several pitches, down slope of boulders rigged with line, 13m pitch (6th), climb down to stream.  A few meters of passage then 10m pitch (7th) (Lousy Rigging) into stream.  Short passage with stream disappearing through impenetrable crack on the left. Step up into large canyon passage sloping down steeply with several pools.  Short pitch just ahead.

Log: 11/8 Jagerhohle, Snablet, Steve, Gonzo.  Up at 6 o'clock (To avoid forecast evening storm).  Snablet got lost.  Steve and Mark carried on down to Bob’s furthest point of yesterday.  Down sloping canyon to 7m pitch (8th) and along canyon to 13m pitch (9th) into abandoned sump-zone with formations. Dried mud over floor.  Bob arrived and found way on to head of 10th pitch. Complex area at head of the pitch wants looking at. Plenty of room to sit out flash flood between all pitches. Mark.

By now Howard & Debbie Limbert, Tim, Allen, Rupert, Dany and Alan Turner had arrived at the hut and were busy looking for cave and following up previous leads.

Log: 11/8 Jagerhohle. Andy, Jon (SWCC).  Left early to re-rig some of the pitches. With thoughts of thunderstorms and long hold up at 2nd pitch we ended up helping Duncan with surveying to 3rd pitch. Rigging on 2nd pitch needs attention.  Andy.

Log: 11/8 Recce to GruneKogel.  1 hour walk from camp follow good cairn route to large, obvious fault at base of cliffs. Large entrance hole (AI) was descended by 15m pitch to another shaft (20m) which was blocked with snow.  No obvious draught.  200m back along cliff base found two (A2, A3) large depressions. A2 consisted of 20m pitch followed by slope on snow past ice formations to snow chute 35m (approx) deep.  A3 - A small climb down 8m to snow plug.  Climb up on one side led to crawl 10m to 30m pitch followed by 16m pitch to tight passage.  Could see a pitch in front.  At base of 30~ pitch a passage led off to top of 50m (un-descended) pitch. A return trip is planned tomorrow, book early!!  Howard.

Log: 11/8 Blitz, John(Big Nose) and Dave. Wiesberghohle.  Went back down.  Got across the pole above first rope pitch (Robertschacht).  After 2m of horizontal passage it led to a short shaft connecting with Robertschacht.  After a 5m traverse it led to another shaft (13m).  After climbing about 5m this was seen to be too tight.  Dave.

Log: 12/8 Jagerhohle, Trebor, Andy, Tim.  Photographic trip getting good shots of 1st & 2nd pitches.  We met J.Rat and crew, had a smoke and pissed off out. Tim.  After about 4 hrs

Log: 12/8 Jagerhohle. Tomma and Howard, surveyed from top of 3rd pitch to bottom of 9th pausing only for Tomma to honk every 5 mins. J.Rat and Trebor, surveyed from bottom of 9th to within 33m of 10th.  Superb trip with a few exciting moments on both 2nd and 1st pitches. J.Rat nearly lost his top set of teeth! J.Rat.

The incident above was when Tony's maillon decided to part company with one side of his sit harness 40m off the ground.  He was promptly horribly sick over those waiting below.

Log: 12/8 Jagerhohle, Dave, Pete, John (Big Nose).  After fighting our way down amongst everybody we hit some abominable rigging, this is rope we are using, not wire and we are playing with peoples lives.  We picked up various lengths of rope in bags scattered around the place.  After the 10th pitch it started to change character with narrow rift passages leading to a 5m pitch.  After, some narrow rift passages led to some shorter pitches including a 10m pitch with a rebelay to a 16m pitch.  Traversing over the latter led to another shaft reconnecting with the first. Carrying on further led to a huge shaft, going upwards - the light would not reach the top.  The bottom 16m is quite aqueous.  This led to (approx) 10m of narrow rift to an un-descended 3m pitch. Here we were hit by an increase in water and made a hasty retreat.  Some of the pitches were quite wet, but nothing too bad.  This is a superb cave with loads of passage which has not yet been touched~ Hirlatzhohle here we come!  Dave.

Log: 13/8 Jagerhohle. Tim, Allen, Rupert.  Went down, fucked about for 13 hours and came out.  The trip was joined by Bob Riley, between them they pushed the cave down to the top of the seventeenth pitch and surveyed back to the tenth.  Rupert

Log: 13/8 Jagerhohle Gonzo. Solo trip in until I met 2 South Wales lads rigging 2nd pitch.  Headed down with them to head of 9th.  Climbed up in roof to well decorated higher section of rift.  At top of 10th went along phreatic borehole to base of large aven. S.W.C.C. headed out while I went down to help bolt the pitches.  Met Bob, Rupert and Tim on P.13 surveying.  Bolting done, no more rope so I headed out losing carbide base en route. Mark.

Log: Where is it now HEE! HEE!  Anon.

Log: 13/8 Andy's mega through trip.  Carried Trebor from the Wiesberghaus to the Glacken in a comatose state and placed him gently on the floor.  He had drunk 1¼ bottles of Johnny Walker!  Andy.

The day was also noted for an amusing remark from a German tourist - 'You are cave inspectors, Ja?'  J.Rat's pearl of wisdom on comparing the local brands of cigarette  "Having a hobby is better than smoking a Johnny!"

Log: 14/8 Steve, Dave, Pete and John.   'Kin excellent trip.  15 hours and absolutely shagged out.  Went down approximately 20 pitches to the head of a mega passage/pitch/fault bearing N.W. straight towards the Hirlatzhohle.  Pete descended this on several ropes tied together but the rigging is awful and needs to be done properly.  Hirlatzhohle here we come!  A hell of a trip to finish a superb holiday - me thinks I'll be back next year…pity, I missed the farewell piss-up.  Steve.

The majority of the Mendip crew headed for home to dry out on the fifteenth, leaving seven of the Yorkshire team with Dany and Alan.  We were all well satisfied with a superb Holiday and Caving Expedition behind us but were sorry to leave the cave twenty pitches down with a connection to Hirlatzhohle looking imminent.  The bottom zone of the cave was looking very similar to Hirlatz and we estimated that we were down about 600m.  The cave seemed to be heading towards a high, prominent inlet on the Hirlatz survey.

Log 15/8.  Looked for new caves in the depressions higher up from Jagerhohle.  One hole was draughting quite strongly but was too small to get in because boulders blocked the way.  Inside I could see it got larger.  Alan.

Stardate: 15/8.  Dear Brethren, the holy one, Kurt and Peter, have arrived at our humble abode.  The great one has ordained that he and other Ostriches will not permit the name Jagerhohle and it must be called Wies Alm Schacht.  You will obey my commands!  Or you will be exterminated.  Your most humble servant, Pete.

P.S.  Vy hass ze zurveyed length not been put on ze survey, instead off ze plan length~ Ziss vill not do!  Vy you not do it??

Dany, Howard, Bob. Went down to continue survey and bring more gear down Wiesberghohle.  Survey started at top of 20th pitch, down boulder rift and through huge boulder choke for streamway continuation.  Finished at head of (approx) 80m pitch where Tim, Rupert and Bob were rigging.  Exited after 17 hours trip total depth for last survey station 483.Sm.  It's now heading towards one of the high points of Hirlatzhohle (approx) 100m difference in height 1km away.

Rupert, Tim and Bullit Bob. Last pushing trip.  Re-rigged 21st pitch with single rope and took the rest on down.  Steep descent through boulder choke (50m) lead back to stream.

Water disappeared into tight rift but over top, phreatic passage led to 80m pitch which required devious rigging with 2 deviations and 3 rebelays.  Top part was in wide rift but bottom part opened out into large circular shaft.  At the bottom the stream entered an immature streamway but a climb up boulders gained a large phreatic tunnel with a crazed mud floor.  (Something for the S.W.C.C. to tape off next year).  This passage led for several hundred feet to a squeeze then opened out again just so pitch (un-descended).  The depth must now be between 550m - 580m. Prospects look excellent.

De-rigging The Bastard. Pete, Nose and Jordy, de-rigged all kit to 15th Pitch.

Large team then went in at various times and de-rigged to 1st pitch and took several bags out. Next day, everyone brought bags out and de-tackled to Seilbahn hut.  Job done.

Two flood pulses went down on the mega de-rigging trip but no real problems caused.  Several people quite cold due to hanging about and Dave drew short straw to de-tackle the bottom of 5th pitch very wet when rope isn't tied off!!

With the cave left below 550m we'll have to go back next year.  Realistically, we should put a camp down in the region of the 22nd pitch. We're going to need a lot of 9mm rope for the lower pitches of the cave because tackle ferrying can be awkward between the 9th and 15th pitches so we shall need sponsorship.

The furthest point reached is only 150 metres above Hirlatzhohle with about a kilometre to go along the fault.  A connection will give us a cave with a depth of 1100m putting it amongst the deepest in the world.  We will also have one of the deepest through trips in the world.  Anyone interested?

Mark Lumley.

Surveys in the next B.B.


Jager Hohle (Hunters Hohle)


Jager Hohle discovered by Chris Fry, one of the contingent from the SWCC, was a delight to explore.

Mark Lumley, (Burnley) Rob Riley and I were invited by the SWCC to help rig the second deep & roomy pitch, this turned out to be approx. 180' deep.  This was quickly followed by three more pitches; 40' 50' and 100'.  We ran out of rope at this stage and headed out after 8hrs.  We had reached approx. -800'.

Our second trip two days later, incidentally on my birthday, saw Mark, Burnley Bob and I rigging down to the bottom of the 9th pitch, approx. -950'.  Here the cave development was horizontal and confusing, we retired again as we had little rope and couldn't find the way!.

The next day Malvern Dave, Pete, and Tomma of the NCC discovered the route beyond the 9th and rigged down to the top of the 14th.  The next pushing team; Burnley Bob, Rupert Scorupka and Tim Fogg pushed down to the top of the 18th pitch (with some superb acrobatic rigging on their part).

My penultimate day up on the limestone plateau was spent exploring Jager Hohle with Malvern Dave, Pete and John (Big Nose), pushing down to the top of the 21st pitch.  When we arrived at the bottom of the 14th pitch we had a brew and decided that Malvern Dave and I should rig beyond the 18th pitch and that Pete and Big Nose should follow behind us surveying from the last survey point at the 14th.  This arrangement worked perfectly, Dave and I managing to keep ahead of the survey team bolting where necessary.  I still had reservations about rigging virgin pitches as the first time I had tried this lark was during the previous week down Titan Schacht, Dave told me later that he too had very little experience of rigging virgin pitches, anyway, we managed.

Around the 19th pitch the cave changed character completely.   From the clean washed rift passage we had been descending we came into a lofty passage with the first dry mud banks, the remnants of a flood centuries ago.  We dropped down a 10' pitch and had the pleasure of racing down a big passage to the top of a very big drop.  The wall to our left and in front of us couldn't be seen with our lights and we threw stones down an obviously very deep ramp.  An impressive place.  We had three medium sized ropes left, these we tied together and Pete made a dodgy descent over an unstable wall on the right using an equally dodgy rebelay.  At the bottom Pete raced off and was only held up from further exploration by a 10' pitch.  The landing was -397.8m and Pete had descended a further 70m or so.

Dave and I had been waiting at the top of the 21st for one hour during Pete's descent.  The draught at this point was terrific (outwards) and despite thermal underwear, an Alpinex undersuit, a furry undersuit, an oversuit, balaclava and gloves, we were very cold indeed.  It took ages for us to warm up a again on the way out.  We exited from the cave to a beautiful clear night, I had been down some 15hrs or so and was very knackered.  The journey back up to the Wiesberghaus took me well over an hour, a less exhausted person would complete the distance in 25 mins or so. At 2am at my tent (and in a frost) I passed into a very deep and happy sleep.


I understand that only one more pushing trip was made before the cave had to be de-rigged.  The cave was approx. -550m to the top of a hundred or so foot pitch.  The line of the cave is on a fault down the Wies Alm Valley heading straight towards a passage in the Hirlatzhohle 1km distant and just 160m or so below us. Horizontal development has to come soon in very large cave.  We have potentially the deepest through trip in the world (and the longest in Austria if we connect with the Mammuthohle as well).

Steve Milner


Austria 86 - A personal view 

Most of the Mendip lot were already in Austria, I had arranged to go with Dany and four others (Howard and Deb, Rupert and Tim Allen).  After a couple of delays in the packing we set off in Dany's van with enough food to feed the five thousand.  After about six miles Dany decided that we would have to stop in Bristol to restock up the food, we hadn't any "Lime Pickle" or "Bombay Duck".  After all the delays we actually managed to catch the midnight Dover to Calais ferry, an hour earlier than had been arranged.  The duty free was giving a bargain we could not resist, 24 small cans of beer for five pounds, these cans were the first best buy.

After stopping in the night for a sleep in a French lay-by we drove continuously through Belgium, Germany and into Austria.  We arrived in Hallstat in the early hours of Sunday, the mountains were just outlines in the sky.  We went to sleep by the lake, just outside Hallstat.  An early morning swim with the topless women was made by a few in the group, but was just too much for Dany.

After the excitement we had to organise the sailband (A cable car which can only carry equipment) The Scailband would take our equipment to the “Wiesberghaus” (The Hunters).  It took a few hours to organise because the Wiesberghaus had been hit by lightning the day before, so communications were nil.  A couple from our group walked up (one to two hour walk) and by midday we had just sent our first load.  We finished with the Sailband by 4.00pm and we managed to catch the last cable car up. As we arrived at the cable car we met Dave, Pete and Tomma who gave us the general news, and about Tomma's mystery illness after a night's drinking.

I was quite surprised at the speed of thunderstorms, because by the time we reached the top the heavens had opened.  We stayed at the cable car bar until the storm had subsided, then we made our way to the Wiesberghaus.  The evening was spent at the Wiesberghaus having a piss up, and hearing all the news.

First day up the hill I decided to go with Howard, Deb, Rupert, Tim and Dany to look for some new caves.  The walk was half an hour across jagged limestone following good cairn tracks  (A place which had been roughly looked at the week before but needed another look).  At the base of the cliff there was an obvious fault, the first hole (Al) was on the fault.  The hole was 15 feet by 20 feet, with snow on one side. Tim and Rupert descended the 10 metre entrance shaft to an inclined passage, 3 feet wide by 10 ft high with a ice floor.  This led to the head of a 20m pitch, at the bottom it was blocked by snow.  There was no obvious draught.

While they had been down the cave the rest of us were looking for more holes which could be descended.  One looked very promising (A2) and had a 30ft diameter entrance shaft.  The entrance shaft was about 40ft deep, with snow at the bottom.  One side of a pitch was descended (100ft) but this was also blocked by ice.  Some good ice formations!  Another hole was found (A3) with a slightly smaller entrance shaft than (A2) with a 20ft free climb onto a snow plug with no way down.  On the far side was a fairly awkward climb of 10ft.  This led along a small passage for 15ft to the head of a 30m pitch.  At the top it was very frost shattered and a few moments were taken clearing the pitch of loose boulders.  The pitch was descended to ledge 10ft from the bottom and a climb down revealed a tight passage leading off.  Trim and Rupert dug for a while to see another pitch (12m) but were too cold to descend.  At the base of the 30m pitch a small passage led off to the top of large shaft (+50m) this was also un-descended.  I arranged to go with Tim and Rupert on an early morning pushing trip down (A3) the next day.

The next day Tim, Rupert and myself left the campsite about half past eight.  We had arranged that Dany and Deb would come in later to survey. We managed to start descending the cave about quarter past nine, to the sound of a thunderstorm.  I was quite concerned about the storm but carried on. The first pitch had been rigged with a rebelay.  It was looped around a horizontal flake and care had to be taken when prussiking up. We reached the bottom and went to the top of the (50m).  This was actually a fine 160ft. pitch gradually enlarging to a chamber (90ft x 35ft). Half way down the rope went through an eye hole into the chamber, this is the finest pitch I have done!  There were two ways on at the bottom, one was a 30ft choked shaft, and a quick dig led to a 40ft pitch.  This landed on the floor of a chamber with flood water coming in from the roof, but there were no problems.  Another short passage led to a 50ft pitch into a mega fault passage, unfortunately it ended in a solid choke.  We dug for a while with no success!  At the other end of the mega passage a 30ft pitch dropped into a chamber, one end was choked and the other end had a 20ft climb which was too tight. Rupert climbed several avens in the chamber, there was much loose rock!  (“BELOW”)

At the bottom of the first shaft (90ft) a squeeze led to a 50ft pitch, but was too tight at the bottom to continue.

When we reached the surface after five hours caving the visibility had fallen to couple of yards due to fog.  Back at the campsite we found the surveying team; they had been delayed due to a mystery illness which Dany had caught the night before in the bar of the Wiesberghaus'

In the evening back at the Wiesberghaus there were rumours that 8104 (a Welsh find) was still going big and deep, so Tim, Rupert and I organised to go on an early trip down the “Jager Hohle” (Hunter"s Hole).

The cave is situated fifteen minutes away from the Wiesberghaus down towards Hallstat.  To find the cave we proceeded in a south easterly direction down the Wies Alm Valley past two hunting huts.  At the third (south eastern) hut we turned left and the cave was roughly 30 metres away in a small depression / gulley.  The cave entrance was quite small compared to the cave we did the day before (4ft-6ft).  The first ten minutes were along a rifty passage, not hard, but it wrecks S.R.T. gear.  At the end a small crawl led to the first drop of 100ft in huge chamber.  I had been told the ropes were muddy (bloody hell! they were right!).  The first 20ft was like a free fall due the ropes being so slippery and I was pleased I had a Petzl Stop!  The second pitch was not far from the first.  It was 180ft split into four parts, and was very badly rigged!  There was more mud on it than the last and was soon known as "paranoia pitch".

As we continued down, the pitches became smaller.  At the bottom of the sixth pitch my carbide light bust!!!  The others were slightly in front so I decided to solo out.  On my way up the sixth pitch the case for my Petzl light fell off, so I had to re-descend to the bottom with my light fading every minute!  My case was lying between some boulders in the stream and I had to crawl in the water to retrieve it.  I soloed out and met Bob, who was “superman” of the trip (the only way to slow him down was with large tackle bags).  At the bottom of the second pitch I found that they had started to re-rig it in a different place to give a free hang of 180ft.  The problem was they hadn't finished and I had to climb the old rig, half way up the rope caught behind a flake.  When I was about 5ft below it~ the flake came away from the muddy wall and damaged the rope, the sheath was nearly rubbed through.  I reached the surface around three o’clock without further incidents.

A couple of days later I went for a walk further up the valley from the “Jager Hohle”, I found a hole which was draughting strongly, it was blocked with boulders appeared to become larger inside.  I meant to return but didn’t have time.

On Saturday seven of us went down to Hallstat and swam in the lake.  In the evening we had a meal at the Diver's Bar.  We had fairly cheap meals compared to usual Austrian prices, well except for Dany.

In the morning we had breakfast at the Millerty station at top of the cable car.  The beer and food was so cheap here it was unbelievable, beer costed 8 schillings which is less than 40 pence.

Jager Hohle had now reached 22 pitches, one of the drops was 250ft, and the last was an un-descended 50ft. Most caving trips were taking about 18 to 20 hours and next year it will be necessary to have an underground camp. The depth was now just over 500 metres and still going towards Hirlatzhohle.

De-rigging the cave started on Monday morning with five cavers de-rigging up to the ninth pitch and through the rifts.  Tomma and I set off a couple of hours later and helped to carry bags from the ninth. The second pitch was nearly impossible to descend as some fool held tied rock on the bottom of the rope.  We took about and hour and a half to reach the tenth pitch, we arrived to see them exiting from the rifts.  There was a sudden noise and the stream began to increase in size.  I was amazed at the speed it rose compared to the Mendip streams, but luckily the ninth pitch stayed dry.  After a brew we started to head out with a bag each.  On the eighth pitch (10ft) my croll became jammed with mud and it took ages to free it.  Everything was going quite smoothly and the flood had not caused any problems, except for on the fifth pitch, when another flood pulse came and Dave was soaked.  We decided to tie all our bags on and pull them up the fifth pitch (90ft).  This was not a good idea.  It took ages with Dave performing acrobatics over the pitch.

At the second shaft Dany had rigged it to haul bags, he had come in a couple of hours after Tomma and myself.  He told us that he had been delayed due to two huge thunder storms.  The last two pitches took hours.  The M.U.S.S. group were supposed to give us a hand from the second pitch, hauling bags up, but they were sitting out the flood in another cave.  After half an hour I was freezing, so I started out but had to wait at the bottom of the first pitch.  While we waited Dave decided to have some snackertacks (lollypops, wine gums etc.) but instead he nearly blew himself up!  He had put his head down towards the B.D.H. container to see what was inside and his carbide ignited the gas stove which had been leaking.  We eventually reached the surface in the early hours of Tuesday after a ten hour caving trip.  The walk back was a slog but it had stopped raining and I managed to get a drink at the Wiesberghaus.  We had left the bags at the top of the first pitch, ready for the next day.  After coming out we thought we might have to do a cave rescue.  The M.U.S.S cave group were still down their cave.  The problem was that nobody knew exactly where this was!  Then a few lights could be seen in the distance, they had been delayed as they had had to sit out the flood.

The de-rigging was completed the following day with help from the M.U.S.S group and only took about 45 minutes.

It was now Wednesday and we had to start packing our gear to come home to great British weather!  In the evening there was a great Piss Up!! Tim Allen brought his ghetto blaster and there were two barrels of beer.  A bunch of Polish cavers had arrived for 5 weeks.

On Thursday we finished packing and then left for home on Friday morning.  At Calais we decided to get John and Geraldine free onto the boat (one big laugh!). When the ticket officer came round we told him there were only six of us (John and Geraldine hid under a pile of caving gear) and we managed to get through.  We caught the 9.30pm ferry instead of the 12.30am for an extra 13 pounds.  We arrived on the Mendips at 3.00am on Sunday morning.

Thank you to everyone who organised the Austria trip and especially Dany who arranged the transport.

Alan Turner.